Attitudes Toward and Preferences of Florida Consumers and Growers Regarding a Proposed Scientifically Based University Certification Process for Wildlife-friendly Plants

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Caroline Nickerson University of Florida, Department of Agricultural Education and Communication, P.O. Box 112060, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA

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Christine Krebs University of Florida, Department of Agricultural Education and Communication, P.O. Box 112060, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA

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Laura A. Warner University of Florida, Department of Agricultural Education and Communication, P.O. Box 112060, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA

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Lauri Baker University of Florida, Department of Agricultural Education and Communication, P.O. Box 112060, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA

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Jaret Daniels McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity, Florida Museum of Natural History, 3215 Hull Road, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA

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Adam Dale University of Florida, Entomology and Nematology Department, Steinmetz Hall, 1881 Natural Area Drive, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA

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Abstract

This article shares survey results provided by both consumers and growers regarding the University of Florida Biodiversity Certified Plants for the Rapidly Expanding Urban Landscape Market project conducted at the University of Florida (UF). The overall goal of this project was to develop and test a scientifically based, UF-trademarked process for the certification of high-quality, commercially available, wildlife-friendly plants for the green industry. The objectives of two surveys that targeted consumers and growers, respectively, were to assess consumer and grower attitudes, knowledge, and behaviors pertaining to wildlife-friendly plants and a proposed certification. The consumer survey results (n = 868) indicated that respondents (consumers) strongly agreed with purchasing wildlife-friendly plants, and that respondents would benefit from the proposed certification. The certification could help consumers gain a better understanding of which plants are wildlife-friendly at the point of purchase. Nearly half of consumers reported an inability to identify wildlife-friendly plants in the store, which hinders them from purchasing. The grower survey results (n = 75) indicated that respondents were willing to offer biodiversity-certified plants. More growers rated themselves as innovators (the most innovative category) in terms of adopting innovations than any other diffusion of innovations category (early adopter, early majority, later majority, hesitant, or none of these), although the perceived cost of obtaining the certification was seen as a potential barrier toward grower adoption of the certification. These findings indicate that the proposed certification would be successful with appropriate and tailored marketing materials for both growers and consumers.

Home gardening continues to grow increasingly popular (San Fratello et al. 2022). According to the National Gardening Survey, lawn and garden participation in the United States is at a 16-year high of 78% (Whitinger and Cohen 2022). Consumers are willing to pay more for plants advertised as pollinator-friendly (Khachatryan et al. 2021; Wei et al. 2021). At the same time, gardeners are becoming more concerned about the use of insecticides, like neonicotinoids, during the production phase of pollinator-friendly plants (Khachatryan et al. 2014; Rihn and Khachatryan 2016). Campbell et al. (2017) found that the lack of labeling was a barrier to purchasing pollinator-friendly plants for consumers. There is an opportunity for green industry stakeholders (growers) to participate in labeling strategies that communicate their production practices while educating consumers about a the environmental contributions of a plant (Campbell et al. 2017; Khachatryan et al. 2021; Krebs et al. 2022; Wei et al. 2021).

Currently, despite the favorability with which consumers regard them, it is difficult to know if plants that are marketed as wildlife-friendly are actually beneficial to pollinators and other wildlife. For the present study, we operationalized “wildlife-friendly plants” as native or ornamental vegetation that attracts and safely supports beneficial insects, birds, and other wildlife. In other words, these plants provide resources (e.g., food such as pollen, nectar, vegetation, berries, fruit, seed) that attract and are safe for consumption by wildlife. Although industry leaders like W. Atlee Burpee & Company (Warminster, PA, USA) and Select Seeds (Union, CT, USA) have started offering plants that attract wildlife such as pollinators, and although conservation organizations like the National Audubon Society (2022) in New York, NY, USA, and the National Wildlife Federation (2022) in Reston, VA, USA, offer national and regional wildlife-friendly plant recommendations, there is a lack of evidence-based standards for what constitutes a wildlife-friendly plant. In response to the lack of standards, the authors of this study proposed an evidence-based certification that could reduce information asymmetries between growers in the supply chain and consumers in their home landscapes or gardens (University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences 2022). Insect pest management during nursery production is often reliant on pesticides, many of which can persist in plant tissues for several weeks, thereby posing risks to nontarget organisms that consume plant resources like pollen, nectar, or leaves after distribution to retail centers and sale to consumers (Halsch et al. 2022). The proposed certification will include a greenhouse/nursery plant production protocol that would suppress insect pests using an integrated pest and pollinator management approach that involves a combination of wildlife-friendly cultural, physical, mechanical, and chemical control strategies (Biddinger and Rajotte 2015). Thus, immediate short-term risks would be reduced for beneficial insects like pollinators that also use those plants to complete lifecycles and provide other ecosystem services. Furthermore, this approach would potentially reduce the use of longer-lasting, systemic insecticides, thereby limiting the postplant purchase and nontarget organism exposure (see Table 1 for examples of previous work describing the increasing interest in wildlife-friendly plants).

Table 1.

Previous work that described the increasing interest in wildlife-friendly plants.

Table 1.

When developing and introducing innovations like a biodiversity certification, it is important to understand how users (i.e., growers and consumers) perceive new products or ideas. A sound understanding of the end users’ needs can guide product development as well as effective communication and education. The diffusion of innovations (DOI) theory is a social science tool that has been used to understand end users and their adoption of innovation. The DOI theory explains how new ideas or products are communicated and disseminated within a social system (Rogers 2003). Components of the DOI theory address how characteristics of individuals, the social system itself, and other elements, such as communication channels, can play a role in diffusing new ideas. Here, the innovation of interest is a wildlife-friendly plant certification program. The present study drew on the DOI theory’s innovation decision process, which explains how individuals move through a series of stages as they determine whether to adopt a new idea or technology (Rogers 2003). Specifically, after people (i.e., growers and consumers) learn about an innovation, they will develop perceptions about five characteristics that will guide their decision to adopt (i.e., to produce or purchase). These characteristics are relative advantage, trialability, observability, compatibility, and complexity (Rogers 2003). When all five characteristics are perceived favorably, adoption is more likely (Rogers 2003).

The purpose of this study was to evaluate consumer and grower attitudes toward and awareness of wildlife-friendly plants and describe conditions relevant to and barriers centered around adopting a proposed certification to guide future education and marketing efforts. The main objectives were to assess how the five characteristics of innovation predicted consumers’ awareness surrounding wildlife-friendly plants, assess how the five characteristics of innovation predicted consumers’ attitudes toward certified wildlife-friendly plants, assess the consumer barriers to the adoption of certification, assess the willingness of growers to adopt certification, determine what factors relate to the growers’ perceptions of certification, assess the grower barriers to the adoption of certification, and assess the source, type, and form of information that growers would seek regarding certified wildlife-friendly plants.

Materials and methods

The project team distributed two surveys in 2021 and 2022; one was targeted toward consumers and one was targeted toward growers to identify potential routes to adoption of wildlife-friendly certified plants and promotional strategies for outreach to consumer and grower audiences in Florida. The category of growers included individuals who deemed themselves to be growers, mainly those who managed professional operations of any size that sold plants that could be marketed as wildlife-friendly. Limitations of the study included a lack of funding for the distribution of both surveys. To address this, for the consumer survey, marketing mainly occurred through the project team’s social media, online gardening groups, and various newsletters. For the grower survey, marketing mainly consisted of newsletter outreach, including through the newsletter of the Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association (FNGLA, Orlando, FL, USA). Questions in the distributed surveys corresponded to different characteristics of and categories associated with the DOI theory. The consumer survey was distributed online to a convenience sample (with marketing via the survey administrators’ social media and various newsletters) in Spring and Summer 2021. The grower survey was distributed from Summer 2021 to Spring 2022 via social media accounts of the survey administrators, FNGLA newsletters, an in-person event for the industry, and direct e-mails. The FNGLA is a professional organization that represents and includes approximately 1500 member companies. The consumer survey received 868 responses, and the grower survey had 75 responses. The convenience samples for both the grower and consumer surveys were limitations to drawing conclusions about both populations from the survey data. Furthermore, because of the small sample size of the growers survey, extra caution should be exercised when inferring the grower survey results to the broader population. Respondents were asked a variety of questions designed to assess attitudes and perceptions of topics, including gardening, wildlife-friendly plants, pollinator-friendly plants, and a proposed wildlife-friendly plant certification, as well as about their demographics and how they obtain information. For both the consumer and the grower surveys, the project team also created five index variables representing the following five DOI theory characteristics that guide adoption decisions: relative advantage, trialability, observability, compatibility, and complexity (Rogers 2003). Each index variable was created from the sum of scores for questions associated with each characteristic when all questions for that index were answered by the respondent. For the consumer survey, each individual question was coded from 1 to 5 (1 = strongly disagree; 5 = strongly agree). For example, the relative advantage index regarding the consumer survey was constructed from the sum of seven responses, and the index values ranged from 7 to 35. That is, the respondents answered questions, such as “overall, wildlife-friendly plants are better than other types of plants” and “wildlife-friendly plants help preserve biodiversity,” using a scale of 1 to 5 (1 = strongly disagree; 5 = strongly agree). For the grower survey, depending on the section, ranges for the questions could differ in scale from 0 to 5 for barriers to selling certified wildlife-friendly plants, from 1 to 8 for describing the usefulness of different types of information regarding wildlife-friendly plants, and from 1 to 6 for describing preferences for different forms of information regarding wildlife-friendly plants (see the Supplemental Table 1 for a summary of how the analysis variables were constructed).

Consumer survey

To describe and compare consumer attitudes, barriers, and perceived benefits from the consumer survey data, the project team created an awareness score, which was an index variable reflecting a respondent’s perceived knowledge of wildlife-friendly plants and related topics. The awareness score was constructed from the responses to seven relevant questions, such as “I can explain the differences between wildlife-friendly plants and those that are not” and “I know how to care for wildlife-friendly plants,” which were measured using a scale of 1 to 5 (1 = strongly disagree; 5 = strongly agree). A high awareness score meant that the respondent perceived themself as highly knowledgeable and aware of wildlife-friendly plants and related topics. The project team also created an attitude score, which was an index variable that measures a respondent’s attitude about purchasing wildlife-friendly plants. The attitude score was constructed from the responses to five 5-point semantic differential questions, such as “purchasing wildlife-friendly plants is bad:good” and “purchasing wildlife-friendly plants is useless:useful,” using a scale of 1 to 5 (1 = the point closest to the negative sentiment; 5 = the point closest to the positive sentiment). A high attitude score meant that a respondent had highly favorable attitudes about purchasing wildlife-friendly plants. Two multiple linear regressions were performed, with the awareness score and the attitude score as dependent variables and the five characteristics of innovation as the independent variables. A statistical software package (IBM SPSS Statistics version 21.0; IBM Corp., Armonk, NY, USA) was used for the analyses.

Within the consumer survey, respondents were asked to “please indicate your likelihood of purchasing wildlife-friendly plants in the future,” as well as to “please indicate your likelihood of purchasing CERTIFIED wildlife-friendly plants if they become available in the future.” We performed a Wilcoxon signed-rank test (Hollander et al. 2014) to relate responses to these two separate questions.

Grower survey

In the grower survey, respondents were asked which categories for adopting an innovation (innovator, early adopter, early majority, later majority, laggard denoted with the term hesitant, or none of these) with which they identified (Rogers 2003). According to the DOI theory, innovators are the first to adopt an innovation, and they are followed by the other adopter categories (Rogers 2003). The following definition was given for “innovator” in the survey: “I want to try growing new wildlife-friendly plants and providing these to customers. I enjoy venturing out and am interested in new production practices for these types of plants. I am willing to take risks and adapt. I would be interested in being a part of a new certification process.” Survey respondents were also presented with 12 different barriers identified during previous interviews (Krebs et al. 2022) and asked to indicate the extent to which each might affect their adoption of the certification. Responses could range from 0 (not a barrier at all) to 5 (a very significant barrier). The likelihood of adopting a proposed certification was measured using three items, such as “please indicate your likelihood of selling certified wildlife-friendly plants if these become available in the future,” using a scale from 1 (very unlikely) to 5 (very likely). Subjective knowledge was measured using seven items, including “I am knowledgeable on how to grow wildlife-friendly plants,” with responses collected using a scale from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). Perceived innovativeness was assessed through six items corresponding to greater inclination to adopt innovations (e.g., “I am courageous and want to be the first to test horticultural innovations”) and lesser inclination to adopt innovations (e.g., “I am hesitant to try new horticultural innovations that impact my production practices or sales”). The innovativeness items were also measured using a scale of 1 to 5 (1 = strongly disagree; 5 = strongly agree). Respondents also ranked their usage of various sources for information about wildlife-friendly plants, the usefulness of specific informational topics, and preferred form of communication sought by growers. The statistical analyses included Pearson correlations (McClave and Dietrich 1988) for all the DOI theory characteristics with the likelihood of certification adoption, subject matter knowledge, and innovativeness. The correlations were considered significant at 0.05. The remaining analyses of grower data were conducted with descriptive statistics, including frequencies, means, and SD.

Results and discussion

Consumer survey

In regard to research objective 1, the evaluation of consumer awareness of wildlife-friendly plants, the results of a multiple linear regression (Table 2) indicated that, for the awareness score, complexity (coefficient = 0.569; P < 0.001) and observability (coefficient = 0.281; P < 0.001) were significant predictors. Complexity (simplicity) had a larger coefficient, indicating the greatest effect on consumer awareness. Both coefficients of complexity and observability were positive, indicating that as perceived simplicity or observability increases, awareness increases. Applied to future promotional marketing efforts, this means conveying clear and simple information about the certification is necessary to reduce any perceived complexities.

Table 2.

Estimates from a multiple linear regression assessing the impact of trialability, compatibility, complexity, relative advantage, and observability on awareness of wildlife-friendly plants among a sample of consumers sampled in Florida. The awareness score was constructed from the responses to seven relevant questions, such as “I can explain the differences between wildlife-friendly plants and those that are not” and “I know how to care for wildlife-friendly plants,” which were measured on a scale of 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree).

Table 2.

Regarding research objective 2, the consumer attitude score (Table 3), compatibility (coefficient = 0.118; P = 0.001), relative advantage (coefficient = 0.089; P = 0.006), and complexity (coefficient = 0.222; P < 0.001) were significant predictors of attitude. Coefficients for all three were positive, indicating that as any of the three variables increases, attitudes become more positive. Like the awareness score, complexity had the largest coefficient, meaning that it has the greatest effect on attitude.

Table 3.

Estimates from a multiple linear regression assessing the impact of trialability, compatibility, complexity, relative advantage, and observability on attitudes about purchasing wildlife-friendly plants of consumers sampled in Florida. The attitude score was constructed from the responses to five 5-point semantic differential questions, such as “purchasing wildlife-friendly plants is bad:good” and “purchasing wildlife-friendly plants is useless:useful,” using a scale of 1 (closest to negative sentiment) to 5 (closest to positive sentiment).

Table 3.

Because of the importance of complexity in relation to both the awareness score and the attitude score for the consumer survey, it is important for consumers to perceive the certification as easy to understand (for example, clear labels). The less complicated that people think wildlife-friendly plants are, the more positive their attitudes and the more they report understanding them (see Fig. 1 for an illustration of the relationship between complexity and the dependent variables, consumer awareness, and attitude).

Fig. 1.
Fig. 1.

The predicted values of awareness and attitude from a multiple linear regression of consumers in Florida. The regression includes complexity, trialability, compatibility, relative advantage, and observability as independent variables. The figure shows that as complexity decreases (or simplicity increases), awareness and attitude increase.

Citation: HortTechnology 33, 5; 10.21273/HORTTECH05230-23

When describing research objective 3, which was focused on conditions relevant to and barriers centered around the adoption of a proposed certification to guide future education and marketing efforts, there were two likelihood questions: “Please indicate your likelihood of purchasing wildlife-friendly plants in the future” and “Please indicate your likelihood of purchasing CERTIFIED wildlife-friendly plants if they become available in the future.” We found a significant (Wilcoxon signed-rank test statistic = −3.90; P < 0.001; n = 761) and counterintuitive difference in consumer responses to these questions. Respondents indicated they were less likely to purchase certified plants compared with wildlife-friendly plants that may not have a certification. Specifically, 118 were more likely to purchase noncertified than certified plants, 71 were more likely to purchase certified than not certified, and 572 were no more or less likely to purchase a noncertified or certified plant. It is likely that respondents did not understand what a certification is and required more education about why a certification is needed and what it will entail. This confusion is likely because respondents were not sure what it would mean to be certified, likely because the certification does not yet exist. The intuitive thought is that perhaps respondents think a plant with certification will cost more than plants without certification (prompting this response); however, based on other survey question results about money, it seemed that cost was not a barrier for the majority of consumer respondents. For example, in response to whether cost hinders the purchase of wildlife-friendly plants, only 11.4% of the 752 respondents agreed or strongly agreed that cost was a barrier. It is important to note that this is a perceived cost by survey respondents that may not be accurate; certified plants likely will not be as expensive as consumers fear. Most respondents were enthusiastic about wildlife-friendly plants; 84.8% (n = 784) strongly agreed that purchasing wildlife-friendly plants was good. They were also willing to read labels, with 92.2% (n = 746) of respondents agreeing or strongly agreeing that they would read a product label that explains the benefits of wildlife-friendly plants. Most consumers also already believed that they were knowledgeable about wildlife-friendly plants, with 76.2% of respondents (n = 809) agreeing or strongly agreeing with the statement, “I can explain the differences between wildlife-friendly plants and those that are not.” It is possible that the counterintuitive result is attributable to respondents not yet understanding that not all plants labeled wildlife-friendly are actually wildlife-friendly; therefore, it is likely they would be receptive to education about why a certification could be beneficial.

Recommendations include the development of clear labeling that highlights the specific wildlife supported, especially regarding pollinators, which consumer respondents had very favorable attitudes toward. Consumers were also very receptive to information from the University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Extension, with 70.9% (n = 714) of respondents indicating they received a lot or a great deal of information about wildlife-friendly plants from the UF/IFAS Extension, meaning that the UF/IFAS Extension could be leveraged as a partner for activities like promotional plant giveaways or marketing. It would be helpful to conduct future research with a larger, ideally random sample.

Grower survey

When describing research objective 4, which was focused on the conditions relevant to and barriers centered around the adoption of a proposed certification from the grower survey, the average of the certification mean, which is the index variable that reported the perceived level of respondent willingness to adopt the proposed certification, was 3.823 (SD = 1.17) using a scale of 1 to 5 (1 = very unlikely; 5 = very likely). This means that, on average, respondents were approaching “likely” in terms of willingness to adopt the proposed certification. The relatively high mean indicates that the audience favors adopting the certification. In terms of methods for persuading the audience to adopt this certification, marketing materials that appeal to any of the DOI theory characteristics would be a good fit. All the DOI theory characteristics were significantly correlated with this variable, and all correlations had large effect sizes. As reported by Cohen (1988), a large effect size is determined by a correlation coefficient of 0.5 or greater. All characteristics but complexity were positively correlated (indicating the expected inverse relationship for complexity) (Table 4).

Table 4.

Pearson correlations (and observed significance level) relating diffusion of innovations theory characteristics to perceptions of growers sampled in Florida. The likelihood of adopting a proposed certification was measured based on three items, such as “please indicate your likelihood of selling certified wildlife-friendly plants if these become available in the future,” using a scale from 1 (very unlikely) to 5 (very likely). Subjective knowledge was measured using seven items, including “I am knowledgeable on how to grow wildlife-friendly plants,” using a scale from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). Innovativeness was assessed through six items, such as “I am courageous and want to be the first to test horticultural innovations,” using a scale of 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree).

Table 4.

According to the Pearson correlations (Table 4) for research objective 5, both subject matter knowledge (the reported perceived level of knowledge about wildlife-friendly plants and related topics) and innovativeness (the reported perceived level of innovativeness by the respondent regarding horticultural innovations) correlated with some but not all of the DOI theory characteristics, which could provide insight regarding unique needs based on whether the grower is more or less knowledgeable or innovative. For mean subject matter knowledge, the relative advantage, complexity, and compatibility of a wildlife-friendly plant certification were all significantly correlated. Perceptions of compatibility were most closely associated with subject matter knowledge, indicating that growers who believe certified wildlife-friendly plants align with their values and operations tended to be those individuals who also had high levels of knowledge. An alternative interpretation is that the growers who were more knowledgeable about wildlife-friendly plants also saw the proposed certification as being more compatible with their individual practices and perceptions. For the innovativeness index, relative advantage, observability, and trialability were all significantly correlated. Trialability was most closely associated with innovativeness, meaning that more innovative growers saw opportunities to try future certified wildlife-friendly plants on a limited basis before committing to an extensive change to their inventory.

Of the barriers presented to address research objective 6, the most highly rated was “cost of obtaining certification” (n = 31), with the average score for this barrier being 3.112 (SD = 1.39) using a scale of 0 to 5 (0 = not a barrier at all; 5 = a very significant barrier). With the perceptions of high costs, it would be advantageous for the project team to seek ways to minimize costs as they develop the certification process. Growers may have selected this as the highest barrier because they are concerned about charging their customers a higher price for certified wildlife-friendly plants. It is important to note that this is a perceived cost by survey respondents; obtaining the certification will likely not be as costly as the growers fear. The second highest barrier was “lack of awareness among customers” (n = 33), with a mean score of 2.886 (SD = 1.75). The third highest barrier was “customer interest (demand)” (n = 31), with a mean score of 2.638 (SD = 1.64). There are opportunities to label these wildlife-friendly plant products. Developing promotional and educational materials that communicate the scientifically based production practices that promote biodiversity in their home landscapes would be important steps in addressing these barriers. Ideally, materials would be developed for dissemination from a university source, like UF/IFAS. Interestingly, “carrying a new product” (n = 27) was the lowest perceived barrier, with a mean score of 1.523 (SD = 1.08), which is in line with this audience’s stated identity as innovators (see Table 5 for a summary of barriers to selling certified wildlife-friendly plants).

Table 5.

Summary statistics describing responses to barriers for selling certified wildlife-friendly plants from growers sampled in Florida.

Table 5.

Regarding innovation, 40.4% of respondents (n = 52) indicated that they considered themselves innovators. Although respondents perceived themselves as highly knowledgeable innovators, they seemed confused about the differences between wildlife-friendly and native plants, and they seemed to regard the terms interchangeably. For example, a question from a grower who provided input for an open-ended survey question was: “When you speak of ‘wildlife-friendly,’ are you referring to native species of plants?” This is an important discrepancy and area for future educational and marketing efforts because “native” and “wildlife-friendly” are not always synonymous. From the responses that address research objective 7, it seemed that respondents wanted information about wildlife-friendly plants, with 48.6% of respondents (n = 35) seeking out this information very often during the past year. The Florida Association of Native Nurseries (Melbourne, FL, USA) was seen as the most valuable information source by grower survey respondents, with 48.5% (n = 33) seeking out a great deal of information from this source. The type of information most desired by respondents was “how to choose the right wildlife-friendly plants that will thrive in my client’s landscape,” and the most desired way to receive information was via a website (see Tables 6 and 7 for a summary of what useful information growers seek and the preferred form of communication on certified wildlife-friendly plants).

Table 6.

Summary statistics describing responses about the usefulness of different types of information regarding wildlife-friendly plants from growers sampled in Florida.

Table 6.
Table 7.

Summary statistics describing responses about their preferences for different forms of information regarding wildlife-friendly plants from growers sampled in Florida.

Table 7.

Respondents seem likely to adopt this proposed plant certification. The score for the index variable reporting this was 3.823, which was interpreted as “likely,” indicating that the certification would be successful among growers; however, the results indicated that the relative success of the certification adoption among growers could hinge on effective communication and marketing initiatives, especially about the value of the certification for both growers and consumers. It would be helpful to conduct future research with a larger, ideally random sample.

Conclusions

Overall, the results regarding consumer and grower attitudes and awareness about wildlife-friendly plants as well as the results about the conditions and barriers centered around adoption of a proposed certification indicated favorability of the proposed certification and likelihood that it will be successful with appropriate marketing materials for the green industry. Both consumers and growers self-identified as innovators, which indicates that momentum exists that could drive market favorability for the certified plants. Properly positioned communication resources based on this audience research could enhance adoption. The needs of each target audience are distinct, and the success of the future certification will be most likely if these marketing materials align with the stated information preferences and perceptions of the DOI theory characteristics for both groups. Future studies should explore counterintuitive results regarding the likelihood of adopting a proposed certification identified during this study to assess whether consumers do not yet understand the need for and benefits of the proposed certification.

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Supplemental Table 1.

Survey questions used to construct the subject matter knowledge/awareness, attitude, likelihood of adopting a proposed certification, perceived innovativeness, trialability, compatibility, complexity, relative advantage, and observability characteristics during the analysis of the responses from the consumers and growers in Florida.

Supplemental Table 1.
Supplemental Table 1.
  • Fig. 1.

    The predicted values of awareness and attitude from a multiple linear regression of consumers in Florida. The regression includes complexity, trialability, compatibility, relative advantage, and observability as independent variables. The figure shows that as complexity decreases (or simplicity increases), awareness and attitude increase.

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    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wollaeger HM, Getter KL, Behe BK. 2015. Consumer preferences for traditional, neonicotinoid-free, bee-friendly, or biological control pest management practices on floriculture crops. HortScience. 50(5):721732. https://doi.org/10.21273/HORTSCI.50.5.721.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
Caroline Nickerson University of Florida, Department of Agricultural Education and Communication, P.O. Box 112060, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA

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Christine Krebs University of Florida, Department of Agricultural Education and Communication, P.O. Box 112060, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA

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Laura A. Warner University of Florida, Department of Agricultural Education and Communication, P.O. Box 112060, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA

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Lauri Baker University of Florida, Department of Agricultural Education and Communication, P.O. Box 112060, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA

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Jaret Daniels McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity, Florida Museum of Natural History, 3215 Hull Road, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA

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Adam Dale University of Florida, Entomology and Nematology Department, Steinmetz Hall, 1881 Natural Area Drive, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA

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Contributor Notes

This material is based on work that was supported by 2020 University of Florida Opportunity Seed Fund award.

C.N. is the corresponding author. E-mail: cnickerson@ufl.edu.

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  • Fig. 1.

    The predicted values of awareness and attitude from a multiple linear regression of consumers in Florida. The regression includes complexity, trialability, compatibility, relative advantage, and observability as independent variables. The figure shows that as complexity decreases (or simplicity increases), awareness and attitude increase.

 

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